Photographs by Kristen Gardner Photography.
Natalie, a NICU clinical social worker from Falls Church, and Erik, an aerospace engineer from Lancaster, met at a party of a mutual friend, and ending up chatting the night away. Natalie was smitten by his humor, his laugh, and his intelligence—“he’s a rocket scientist, after all”—and he was taken by her wit, her kindness, and her “striking green eyes.” They didn’t exchange numbers that night, but a few days later, the friend texted Natalie for permission to share her number with Erik. “The rest,” they say, “was history.” See more of their story below.
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For their first date, they went ice skating at the National Gallery Sculpture Garden—they’ve since found alternative hobbies that don’t showcase the limitations of their ice-skating talent, they say—then chatted over spiked hot chocolate and mulled wine at the cafe.
They dated for three-and-a-half years before Erik popped the question at the couple’s Arlington apartment, following the proposal with dinner at one of their favorite spots, The Green Pig. The following weekend, they celebrated their engagement with a weekend at Goodstone Inn.
The Big Day
Two years later, on September 5, 2021, they married outside at Montalto in Charlottesville, in an weekend-long affair that kicked off with a wine-tasting at Merrie Mill Farm and Vineyard on Thursday, a rehearsal dinner and welcome drinks on Friday at The Local, then the wedding day at Montalto, and a farewell brunch at Random Row Brewing on Sunday.
The wedding day itself, they say, was designed with a “Virginia Blue Ridge mountaintop meets blue-and-white-elegance” vibe. The color palette included hues of blue and white with “pops of sunshine yellow as a nod to the end of summer and to the blue ridge mountains.” Sunshine, they say, was a theme throughout the day, from the flowers, to the Finns playing “You Are My Sunshine in the background—as song her parents sang her as a child—as her parents started their speeches.
Natalie’s favorite details were the inclusion of her late grandfather’s tallis draped of the floral-adorned chuppah, and the moment after the ceremony when she and Erik got to take a moment to themselves to “rejoice in their newlywed bliss” and sample the signature cocktails and appetizers privately. Eriks favorite details were the silver cufflinks featuring their dog Ruby, which Natalie gifted him to wear on the big day, and the moment before the ceremony, when he saw Natalie in her dress of the first time. As an added element of fun, Erik drew what he thought her dress would look like before seeing her, and then was shocked to see that he wasn’t that far off.
Other special elements of the day included custom a designed wedding crest—featuring their dog, Ruby—that was included on the invitation suite as well as the drink menus and napkins, and the menu, which the couple calls “a true culinary experience.” Guests were greeted at the ceremony with bubbly and aqua Fresca, then escorted to cocktail hour where they dined on charcuterie and passed hors d’oeures, which included a favorite duck confit spring roll. For dinner, guests had a choice of of filet of sole or braised short rib, along with a grilled caesar salad. For dessert, the newlyweds singled into a small cutting cake, and opted for a dessert bar of mini eclairs, macarons, pecan pie, key lime pie, pot de cremes and tiramisu. For late-night snacks: grilled cheeses, cheese burgers, truffle fries, chicken and waffles and a Virginia classic, ham biscuits.
The couple skipped the bridal party, but instead invited close family and friends to do readings, join them in getting ready, sign the Ketubah, and give toasts.
As an extra-special touch, the couple bought the ginger jars used throughout the reception, so they could gift some to loved ones, and display others in their home later, as a reminder of their wedding day.
Following the big day, the newlyweds honeymooned in St. Lucia.
Photographer: Kristen Gardner | Venue: Montalto | Event Planning & Design: Angelica and Co. Weddings | Florist: Cedar & Lime Co. | Invitations: Painted by Pippa | Catering: The Catering Outfit | Cake: Cake Bloom | Hairstylist: Top Knot Studio | Makeup Artist: Rouge 9 | Bride’s Attire: Anne Barge from Elegance by Roya (ceremony); BHLDN (reception) | Groom’s Attire: Ted Baker from Nordstrom | Music: Sam Hill Entertainment | Transportation: Ambassador Limousine | Tent: Skyline Tent | Officiant: Rabbi Vanessa Ochs | Rentals and Décor: Paisley & Jade, MS Events, BBJ Linens | Videographer: Brian Schornberg